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Text of the Letter Sent by Mikhail Gorbachev to the President of France

July 15, 1989, Paris
[Unofficial Translation]
[Français]

Mr. President:

I address myself to you in your capacity as president of the 15th annual economic conference of the leaders of the seven countries, which will take place in Paris on July 15 and 16, and through you to the other participants in that meeting. I would like to share with you some ideas about the key problems of the world economy which exert their influence on all countries without exception.

Interdependence, while helping to overcome the division of the world, greatly increases the risk of conflicts of interest, and of the explosion of contradictions.

Traditionally, to resolve economic contradictions between States it was sufficient to find an equilibrium on the basis of strictly national interests. However, today such an equilibrium would be precarious if one tried to base it on anything other than the universal interests of humankind.

A true equilibrium, a stable interdependence, can result only from complementary actions. An objective process in the formation of a cohesive world economy implies that the multilateral economic partnership be placed on a qualitatively new level.

We observe with interest the efforts made by the seven most highly developed States of the Western world to enhance the coordination of macroeconomic policy. Thanks to this coordination, we consider it possible to make world economic processes more predictable. This is an important premise for guaranteeing international economic security.

On the topic of economic security, we have in mind above all else the formation of bases for stable, de-ideologized, and mutually advantageous co-creation and for joint development.

Like other countries, the Soviet Union seeks to complete the task of adapting its national economy to a new structure of the international division of labor which is developing. Our perestroika is inseparable from the policy that aims at full and complete participation in the world economy. That orientation, which is in keeping with current political thought, is equally determined by our direct economic interest. But it is clear the rest of the world can only gain from the opening up to the world economy of a market like that of the USSR. Of course, mutual advantage implies mutual responsibility and respect for the rights of all the participants in international economic relations.

There exist many contradictions in these relations. At a minimum, it is necssary that the area of common, convergent interests of States be sufficiently large and appropriate as a basis for interaction. The proof of this is furnished notably by the positive changes in bilateral economic ties between the Soviet Union and many Western nations, by the agreements reached in Vienna on the "second basket" of cooperation in Europe, by the establishment of CMEA-EEC [Council for Mutual Economic Co-operation-European Economic Community] relationships.

Nevertheless, multilateral East-West cooperation on global economic problems finds itself manifestly behind in comparison to the development of bilateral and regional ties. This state of affairs does not seem justified considering the impact of our States on the world economy, and the responsibility which they have for its rational and efficient functioning, for the good of each country's citizens and of the world community in general.

The Soviet Union declares itself in favor of constructive, prejudice-free interaction aimed at completing these tasks through common efforts. We see the points of convergence and complementarity in the approaches taken by the States to global problems, in particular the settlement of Third World indebtedness. It matters little who receives the credit for the best initiative. What is essential is that there exists a real possibility of contributing together to effective, practical measures in the area of debt settlement.

We are in favor of collective assistance to development, in favor of coordinating the actions of creditors and debtors, of donors and debt-collectors, in favor of extending multilateral forms of aid. This could become one of the considerable material guarantees for the participation of developing countries -- with equal rights and responsibilities -- in the world economy.

Some propositions are being assembled for a consensus on the means of assuring stable development of all States; this implies the formation of secure ecological guidelines for the structure of the unified world economy being built today.

Another problem that is common to us concerns the tendencies toward integration, which are growing more and more vigorous in various regions of the world. We want such development to go in the direction of a universal partnership. Today's way of life is destroying--albeit progressively and with much difficulty--the old artificial barriers between different economic systems. Although each system keeps its characteristic traits, they have borrowed a great deal from one another, utilizing similar tools of management.

It is becoming urgent that we understand each other concerning the methodology for measuring and harmonizing economic processes, a methodology acceptable to all countries and for universal use. Looking ahead, the question could be also one of research on the procedures for putting in place, on a global scale, the various mechanisms of macroeconomic coordination.

We are ready to engage in a constructive dialogue on these questions. To start this, one could establish professional contacts in various areas, for example, in the form of meetings of government experts. It is important to determine a common economic language at the start, to proceed to a reciprocal exchange of information, including questions on basic indicators of economic development, on regulation of lines of credit, and on aid to the Third World, so as to assure the methodological compatibility of statistical data as a point of departure for collaboration.

I hope that these reflections will be useful for the participants in the Paris Summit meeting and that its results will lead to a search for balance among national, regional, and universal economic interests.

Respectfully,
M. Gorbachev

Source: Released at the Summit of the Arch. Note: This is not an official summit document (P. Hajnal).


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